Facebook Faces Risks From Fast Growth, Co-Founder Saverin Says

Facebook Inc. (FB), the operator of a social network with 1.1 billion users, may struggle to keep pace with the need to educate customers and governments on privacy issues, according to billionaire co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

While the company’s growth is a “huge asset,” it may also create misunderstandings, he said at a conference organized by The Wall Street Journal in Singapore today.

“The biggest risk is growing too fast,” Saverin said. “When you grow too fast, it’s hard to iterate, educate.” Saverin helped form the company with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg. He later pursued a legal dispute over his stake in the company, which was ultimately settled for an undisclosed amount.

Saverin, who renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2011, also said Facebook was threatened by other companies trying to break its grip on the social-network market. Zuckerberg has said he plans to boost spending 50 percent this year to add staff and roll out new tools for advertisers to help fend off competition.

“There’s always multiple threats to Facebook,” Saverin said. “There’s a lot of technology companies out there with tremendous resources and engineering and very experienced talent that are trying to enter this space,” he said.

Saverin has a net worth of about $1.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at vallikappen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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